Manning River Times

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has handed down the 2022 Budget, with apprentices coming out on top.

35,000 apprentices will be enticed to learn a trade through a $5,000 direct cash payment made over the first two years of their employment.

However, it’s a different story for employers.

Enrollments for the current Boosting Apprenticeship Commencement scheme will close on 30 June 2022, which provided a 50 per cent wage subsidy (up to $28,000) to employers for first-year apprentices.

It will be replaced with the $1.3 billion Australian Apprenticeships Incentive Scheme that will offer up to $15,000 in wage subsidies for new apprentices from 1 July 2022.

A 10 per cent wage subsidy will be provided to employers for first and second year apprentices and 5 per cent for third year apprentices.

Payments will also be limited to industries that are on the ‘priority’ list, which will be updated annually in line with national demand.

“The Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System will shift to supporting occupations in demand or skills need with a hiring incentive of up to $4000 to be provided for employers in priority occupations,” said Employment Minister Stuart Robert.

There’s been disappointment for draught beer retailers, with the hope the excise would be slashed and taxes reduced.

“Our request to the Government would’ve sent a small price signal to the electorate that after a tough two years it was time to encourage people to come back to the pub and have a drink with friends, rather than drink alone at home,” said AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson.

Ferguson also referenced the ‘hidden beer tax’, which has increased annually on 1 August and 1 February.

“A cut to this hidden twice-yearly tax would shave about 30c off the cost of a schooner – that might not mean much to a politician, but it means a hell of a lot to many people in the front bar struggling to make ends meet.”

On the tax relief front, small businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million will be able to deduct an extra 20 per cent of expenditure on external training courses in ‘forward thinking’ areas such as cloud computing and cyber security.

The courses must be undertaken by employees online or in person in Australia by external education providers registered in Australia.

The existing 20 per cent additional tax deduction on business expenses and depreciating assets that support digital workplace items such as portable payment devices will remain in place until 30 June 2023. Deductions apply to up to $100,000 of expenditure per year.

“Every hundred dollars these small businesses spend on digital technologies like cloud computing, e-invoicing, cybersecurity and web design will see them get a $120 tax deduction,” said Treasurer Frydenberg.

Small businesses will also be able to access free mental health resources from Beyond Blue over a two-year period.